By Srishti Tiku

As India undergoes rapid urbanization, our dependence on cars is increasing day by day. A growing middle class has led to a massive addition of cars, and the numbers show it – 6.1 million in 2000 to 30.2 million in 2016. No wonder the roads are clogged and congested, hydrocarbons are being guzzled faster than ever before with  the complimenting increase in the economic and environmental costs. Is it even a wonder that our infrastructure, forever in need of expansion and repair to satisfy the growing demand, the constant noise and honking, ever-climbing number of accidents, and worsening air quality, are all crying out for relief? While the daily grind keeps us on our toes, the daily traffic congestion further adds to our woes. How much time do you spend commuting to work each day? How much time do you spend in traffic? But before rubbing our heads in exasperation, let’s ponder over one potential response to our woes – carpooling.

In Delhi and other metropolitan cities, carpooling has become a popular solution to combat the hassle of overcrowded roads, and the trend has grown over the years, especially with easy-to-access services being provided by rideshare service providers like Uber and Ola, which, besides their providing individual car rides also provide the peer-to-peer ridesharing facilities through their popular service options Uber Pool and Ola Share respectively. These options help cut down the cost burden on the commuters by nearly 50%, besides helping to bring down the vehicular congestion on city roads.

Let’s see what some of the benefits of carpooling could possibly be:

  • Reduced demand for parking spaces, as there are fewer cars on the road
  • Reduced travel demand for existing vehicles as compared to individual car rides, thus reducing the number of vehicular trips and vehicles
  • Reduced pollution, as the vehicular emissions would be significantly cut

A study recently conducted by the University of Chicago on the odd-even scheme in Delhi reported a 10-13% reduction in particulate matter and 5.4% increase in average speeds as a result of carpooling. Delhi is among few of the worst polluted cities in the world and carpooling is an effective strategy to deal with this menace.

Thus in addition to aiding the environment but helping cut down vehicular emissions, carpooling helps cut down driving costs significantly, reduces stress and burden on the passengers and reduce driving effort. These factors serve as motivation to adopt carpooling as a daily practice and many car owners have started already. When are you getting on the bandwagon?